Rebuttal to “There is No Art in Business”

I received an article in response to my recent post, “There is No Art in Business.” It was sent to me by a good friend Robert Burkhart, Director of Operations at Manitex, Inc.

I would love to hear your thoughts.


The “Art” and “Science” of Change Management

 When it comes to making changes among your people, change management is the answer. Yet many companies aren’t prepared to implement change management initiatives.

They either start with a scientific approach, then touch on the “art” side, or worst still, just stick with the science route all the way through, totally disregarding the fact that it is also an art.

The best sequence is art, then science, yet most efforts to manage change flounder or fail because the science of change precedes and usually precludes the art of change. That is a fatal mistake.

The science of change management consists of the technical approach of realigning and redefining roles, departments, and processes across the organization. This approach ensures compliance by focusing on changes to organizational structure, systems, and tangibles.

Once everything looks good on paper, the “scientists” at the top employ a “tell ’em, bribe ’em, then force ’em” approach to facilitate compliance. Brute force is always an option when the art of change is ignored, but it’s never sustainable.

When managing change, scientists should begin by listening to the artists. While the scientist is worried about the wires all connecting correctly, the artist is interested in how people feel about the new wiring.

The artists of change management are concerned with the people side, or the culture side, of the change effort. They pay greater attention to how people are experiencing the change and provide counsel that helps to align the change effort to the beliefs and emotions of the workforce.

Applying the Art of Change Management

Artists know that effectively applying the art of change management means addressing three core realities:

  1. Human beings resist change. Most become paralyzed by initiatives to change in such a way as to become victims, rather than agents, of change. Without drawing awareness to the tendency, people will naturally undermine the effort by assuming worst case scenarios and intentions at every turn.

Just as art invokes emotion in people, it’s up to leaders to inspire positive emotion from their employees during change. Leaders must be at the forefront of managing change and modeling the desired behaviors to strike the same chord in their people.

  1. Culture is built on beliefs. In addition to aligning strategic systems, leaders MUST align the belief systems of the organization. Without clarifying, aligning around, and internalizing beliefs that drive the right culture, there will be no real ground rules to tame the jungle.

An undefined culture will evolve down the path of least resistance without a common set of consensual principles. Senior leaders must take the imperative and artful path of painting an imaginary picture of what they want their company to look like in the future.

Patrick Putorti

Patrick Putorti

Patrick Putorti

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